I was half-kidding when I asked my rhetorical question about instituting a new schedule before this post, but not because I wanted to impress you with our superior levels of productivity.
It’s because this mom of nearly-10 has become shockingly undisciplined. After those early years of madcap panic trying to get through the days and weeks and months with all the members of the family receiving at least a meal a day and a bath a week, now I’m surrounded by helpers with able bodies and sound minds. I have 7 children who can tie their own shoes, and what’s more they can find and tie shoes for those who can’t.
I’m not telling you this in a show of false humility. There is some real humility, because I know we could make much better use of our time. But my main purpose in explaining this is to encourage mothers whose children are all or mostly below the age of shoe-tying. Your days will get easier. You will, someday, struggle more with the temptation to laziness than the temptation to fall into a teary heap on the kitchen floor because there’s just not enough time in the day to do the absolute bare necessities.
The four of us promised to tell you about our schedules. Here’s mine. We don’t have strict times attached to each event because we don’t usually watch the clock except at the beginning and end of the day. We just have a progression of events that will be done. Well, in theory at least. On a good day.
This is what our typical day looks like:
7:00 – Rise time. Help with Dad’s coffee, breakfast and lunch, if necessary.
7:30 – Dad leaves. Other stuff starts:
Shower/dress – only those who rise early are allowed a morning shower. This doesn’t stop the late risers from asking for an exception every single morning. When I say no, they typically make up for their laziness by spending an hour getting dressed, not realizing that it will therefore be an hour later in the day before they have free time to take a shower.
Bible – private reading for all. I usually read in my bedroom. If little ones join me, I read aloud with an admonition that they must be still and quiet or leave the room.
Jobs - clean up the house. Everyone has assigned areas and chores. This includes bedrooms, laundry, living areas, animals, etc. Most jobs get done and re-done throughout the day as necessary.
Breakfast – usually prepared by a volunteer or assigned to somebody who looks idle.
School – there is no time attached to this; it’s simply the next thing on the list. But I will confess that it rarely starts before 10:00 and continues after lunch.
Lunch – some people eat lunch at noon. We scoff at such predictable behavior. We eat when we get hungry, or when we see somebody with a particularly appealing snack, or when the little kids get whiny.
2:00 – also known as the Hallelujah hour. A general shout goes up (Guess what time it is? Two o’clock!!!) and naps commence for the wee ones, quiet time for the bigger small people. “Quiet time” really means nap time for those who don’t necessarily fall asleep but still get tired or cranky after a long day. Yes, that may include me. Quit snickering. You know you’re just jealous.
Quiet Timers are allowed to choose one or two books and are required to be still and quiet for 60-90 minutes. I sometimes lie down with one of the littles while the big girls finish up their school.
Afternoon projects - This includes 1 hour of yard work. Right now we’re working on clearing the woods around the house, and making beautiful progress in areas that we couldn’t even walk through before. I rarely take part in this. The kids are probably going to either laugh or seethe at the term, “rarely” which indicates that I do, indeed, help on occasion.
Free time - Do you really need an explanation here? This is for those productive individuals who are done with jobs, Bible and school before dinner. Don’t feel bad for them. Anyone who wants free time generally has it – the question is whether they are good little children who finish their work first, or bad little children who goof off all day and find themselves scrambling to finish their work before dinner.
6:30 – Our officially scheduled time for dinner, though we love to wait for Dad if he expects to be home any time before 7:30.
Dishes for the big ones, baths for the little people.
Family time - this often includes surfing the internet as a team event, and wild-eyed herds of children stampeding toward the sound of youtube. It sometimes includes Dad or Mom swatting at 6 or 8 people at a time and muttering, “Get off me! Let me breathe, people! I’ll call you when the video is loaded!”
Bed - The little ones are usually in bed by 9:30 or 10, while the big people in the house (11 and up) try to have lights out by 11 or so. I can hear the collective gasp out there. That’s just what works for us these days. When all the kids were little and Dad came home every night at 5:15, bedtime was 8:00. If we did that now, some of them might not see him for days on end.
See the schedules for the other 3 moms and 25 kids:
This post is also part of the Carnival of Homeschooling.
Guess who else is blogging about a daily schedule? Simple Mom is re-running her classic post called 20 Tips for Finding your Routine with Kids.